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Red Lentil Soup

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This creamy red lentil soup is an easy vegetarian dinner recipe that’s ready in under an hour. Serve it with a side salad or fresh bread for a full meal.  


  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils (soaked, if possible)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish


  1. If possible, soak 1 1/2 cups lentils prior to cooking: place them in a large bowl and cover with several inches of cold water for about 12 hours. If you don’t have time, this step is optional; the lentils will just need to be cooked a bit longer in Step 5.
  2. Chop the onion. Mince 4 cloves garlic. Chop the 2 carrots. Chop a bit of cilantro (if using for a garnish).
  3. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, 3 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add 1 quart broth and the lentils. Bring to a simmer, then cook until the lentils are soft, 10 to 15 minutes if soaked, or 20 to 30 minutes if unsoaked. When the soup is done, purée it using an immersion blender (or regular blender).
  6. While the soup cooks, toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes (make sure to watch them constantly so they do not burn).
  7. To serve, dish the soup into bowls. Garnish with toasted almonds, fresh squeezed lemon juice, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil.


Adapted from The New York Times

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: red lentil soup